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Tuesday June 5, 2018 — California Primary Election
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State of CaliforniaCandidate for Lieutenant Governor

Photo of Gayle McLaughlin

Gayle McLaughlin

Community Organizer/Educator
263,049 votes (4%)
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My Top 3 Priorities

  • Encourage building local, diverse, inclusive, corporate-free progressive alliances in cities throughout California and facilitate a network of progressive groups and statewide unions to pressure the legislature to get our statewide issues.passed.
  • Fight for Single Payer "Medicare for all", Free Public College, Closing Prop 13 corporate loophole, a Progressive Millionaires Tax, an Oil Severance Tax, a CA Public Bank, affordable housing, & defend unions, our public schools and immigrant rights.
  • Keep a watchful eye on Sacramento backroom deals, denounce the corporate control of our statewide politics, and organize progressive organizations and leaders to implement a People's Agenda.



Profession:Former Mayor of Richmond, CA / Community Organizer
Councilmember, City of Richmond (2015–2017)
City Councilmember, Richmond City Council — Elected position (2015–2017)
Mayor, City of Richmond (2007–2014)
Mayor, City of Richmond, California — Elected position (2011–2014)
Mayor, City of Richmond, California — Elected position (2007–2010)
Councilmember, City olf Richmond (2005–2006)
City Councilmember, Richmond City Council — Elected position (2005–2006)


UC Berkeley Extension Graduate studies, Education (2000)
Rhode Island College Graduate studies, Psychology (1997)
Bridgewater State University Bachelor of Science - Summa Cum Laude, Psychology (1995)

Community Activities

Founder and organizer of the Richmond Progreessive Alliance (2003-2018), Richmond Porgressive Alliance (2003–current)


Early Years

I was born in Chicago, Illinois into a working class union family. I’m the middle child of five daughters. My father was a carpenter and member of the Carpenter’s Union and my mother was a factory worker and housewife. As a young activist during the 1980’s, I worked with the Central American solidarity movement, People United to Save Humanity (PUSH), and the Rainbow Coalition. I’m married to Paul Kilkenny, also a Richmond activist for social and environmental justice.


As Mayor, I led the City in a progressive direction, and Richmond was significantly transformed into a better City. Under my leadership Richmond passed the first rent control law in California in 30 years, increased the minimum wage, reduced homicides 75% in 8 years, forced Chevron to pay on average an additional $7.5 million in taxes per year and sued Chevron for damage to the population, promoted Community Choice Aggregation resulting in 85% of homeowners and businesses now receiving greener and cheaper energy.

I also prioritized the interests of Richmond residents and families, advocating for residents evicted by banks and speculators and approving policies to hold Wall Street accountable. I proudly stood up for my community with the Richmond CARES (Community Action to Restore Equity and Stability) the foreclosure prevention program that sought to acquire underwater mortgages in Richmond from the banks (either through voluntarily sales or through eminent domain) so the City can refinance the loans for the homeowners with reduced principals in line with current home values.

I also voted to assist Kennedy High School and other public Richmond schools with $3 million, I opposed privatizing public education and the expansion of Charter Schools, passed resolutions in support of single-payer universal healthcare coverage, and was in the forefront of defending Richmond’s immigrant population.

I am a founding member of the Richmond Progressive Alliance (RPA), a corporate-free grassroots political organization which has many successes in Richmond, Ca. The RPA is also an Our Revolution affiliated organization and Bernie Sanders endorsed me in 2014. I was elected and served the people of Richmond for the last 13 years as Richmond’s first corporate-free councilmember (2005-2006/2015-2017) and two term mayor (2007-2014). I blazed the path in Richmond and in 2017 Richmond has a super-majority of five out of seven councilmembers who are true progressives, members of the RPA, and elected without a dime of corporate money.


I have a background as an educator, and professional experience in nonprofit leadership organizations promoting literacy, social justice, and environmental health. I was also involved in nonprofit research and data-driven projects addressing the needs of disadvantaged youth. I also co-founded Solar Richmond, a nationally-recognized local program promoting solar power and green jobs in Richmond, and Richmond Residents for a Responsible General Plan, a community organization committed to ensuring that the General Plan process be transparent and open to public participation.

I am an independent (NPP) Bernie Sanders supporter.  Regarding our progressive work in Richmond, Bernie said:

“Whether you know it or not, the eyes of the country are on you. And if Chevron can roll over you, they and their buddies will roll over every community in America. If you can stand up and beat them with all of their money, you’re going to give hope to people all over America that we can control our destinies.”

“These inspiring victories in Richmond would not have been possible without the prior development of a multi-issue, multi-racial progressive organization. Our country obviously needs a great deal of change at the state and federal levels. But laying a solid local foundation, like activists in Richmond have done, is an important first step toward overcoming working-class alienation from politics and resulting low voter-turnout rates.” – Bernie Sanders, from the foreword to “Refinery Town: Big Oil, Big Money and the Remaking of an American City” by Steve Early


·        Increased the local minimum wage to $15 by the end of 2018

·        Passed the first new Fair Rent Control and Just Cause for Eviction law in 30 years in California to protect renters and homeowners

·        Reduced homicides by 75% in eight years as Mayor – and crime in general – by promoting community policing, community mobilization against crime, and job training opportunities; created the Office of Neighborhood Safety (ONS) while promoting a reform-minded chief of police.

·        Defeated Chevron’s $3.5 million attempt to buy local elections 

·        Defended immigrant rights and the city’s sanctuary status, ended drivers’ license checkpoints and created a municipal identification for all people residing in Richmond who wanted an ID

·         Redefined Chevron’s tax ($114 million additional taxes) and environmental obligations

·         Filed a law suit against Chevron for its abuses and damages to Richmond residents

·         Promoted a plan to keep homeowners in their homes and neighborhoods stable by appropriating ‘underwater’ mortgages from banks using City eminent domain powers (Richmond CARES)

·         Increased powers of the Citizens Police Review Commission

·         Rejected an urban casino in Richmond and preserving the North Richmond shoreline from bad development

·         Promoted Community Aggregation Choice electricity for Richmond, by which currently 85% of residents and businesses get greener and less expensive electricity

·         Promoted solidarity and the development of worker cooperative

·         Ended the local criminalization of the homeless

·          Affirmed and defended LGBT rights and equality for all in Richmond

·          Defended City employees and their union, SEIU 1021

·          Implemented safe return policies for residents returning from incarceration

·          Opposed the expansion of local jails

·          Defended public schools, opposed the expansion of charter schools

·          Opposed the  Patriot Act, militarism, wars and U.S. acts of economic aggression and embargoes against foreign countries

·          Created a nationally-acclaimed green jobs training program, leading the Bay Area in solar installations per capita (2010)

·          Advanced a local Climate Action Plan, a moratorium on pesticide use, a green building ordinance, a plastic bag ban, a Styrofoam ban, bicycle paths and cultural activities

·         Helped secure a supermajority of corporate-free progressives (n=5 out of 7) on the Richmond City Council.


  •    2016 “Millie Award, Leadership in the fight to pass rent control and just cause for eviction” from the Tenant Lawyer Network- a project of Tenants Together
  •    2015 “Phil Burton Badge of Courage for Protecting Democracy and the Environment from Corporate Pollution” from the Sierra Club
  •    2015 “13th Annual Human Rights Award: Democracy”, from Human Agenda
  •    2015 “Building Strength California Gala Honor, in Supporting The Innovative Richmond CARES Programs and Standing Up Against Corporate Greed”, from ACCE Institute and the Center for Popular Democracy
  •    2014 “Day of Peace Award of Appreciation” from San Quentin State Prison
  •    2013 “Award for Excellent Leadership” Alliance of Californians for Community Empowerment
  •    2013 “Best Politician Against All Odds” from East Bay Express
  •    2011 “Homeless Advocacy in Action Award” from Saffron Strand,
  •    2009 “Solar Champion Award Leading Solar City” from Environment California
  •    2008 “Contribution to Environmental Justice Award” from Communities for a Better Environment

Who supports this candidate?

Questions & Answers

Questions from League of Women Voters of California Education Fund (5)

The Lieutenant Governor sits on the UC Board of Regents and the CSU Board of Trustees.  What are your ideas for the future of higher education in California public universities and colleges?
Answer from Gayle McLaughlin:


 I stand for and will fight for Free Public College California.

California needs to offer all its residents tuition-free attendance at public four-year colleges, universities and community colleges. Stopping the increase in the current tuition is not enough. A cumulative tuition of $100,000 for a degree at a four year college California is something most working families cannot afford. Public colleges must be tuition free and all students, including Community college students need to be included in scholarships to support student living. There is plenty of wealth in our state. What is needed is the political will to put students and our future over corporate greed. Other advanced nations are educating their future professionals and scholars without discriminating and without loading them with debt. We need to do the same!  Free Public College, No debt!

California has some of the richest people in the country and some of the poorest. What would you do to reduce income inequality in California? 
Answer from Gayle McLaughlin:


The following are policies that I support that will help reverse inequality:

1.       Increase the Minimum Wage to $15 an hour adjust it for inflation working towards a Livable Wage

2.       Institute Medicare-for-all universal health care coverage

3.       Tax the corporations and the rich their fair share and more than working families.

4.       Promote labor union organizing and collective bargaining

5.       Invest in education from early education to free public college

6.       Repeal Costa-Hawkins and implement statewide rent control.

7.       Build affordable housing on state land and with land trusts, reducing the cost to half

8.       Create a California Public Bank to pay less for financing of schools, housing, basic infrastructure

9.       Create a progressive millionaires tax: The more you earn, the more you pay.

10.   Build assets for working families, facilitate enrollment of workers in good retirement programs 

11.   Improve public transportation

12.   Make the tax code overall more progressive

13.   Support economic and racial integration in neighborhoods and schools, end residential segregation


Question 3

Currently there isn't enough money in the state retirement system to pay for all the benefits promised to government workers. What would you do as Governor to address the state’s unfunded pension liability?

No answer provided.
Question 4

There is a shortage of affordable housing in California. How would you approach addressing California’s housing crisis? Please include specific proposals.

No answer provided.
Question 5

According to a ""Civility In America” survey, 75% of Americans believe that the U.S. has a major civility problem.  If you are elected what will do to address this?

No answer provided.

Who gave money to this candidate?


Total money raised: $196,274

Top contributors that gave money to support the candidate, by organization:

Employees of 7 Stars
Employees of Contra Costa College
Employees of Federacy
Employees of Active
National Union of Healthcare Workers
Employees of Pacific Gourmet

More information about contributions

By State:

California 90.73%
Colorado 5.47%
Washington 1.53%
Pennsylvania 0.84%
Other 1.43%

By Size:

Large contributions (69.88%)
Small contributions (30.12%)

By Type:

From organizations (2.74%)
From individuals (97.26%)
Source: MapLight analysis of data from the California Secretary of State.

Political Beliefs

Position Papers

Yes on Single-Payer ‘Medicare for All’


Single-Payer ‘Medicare for All’

Health care is not a commodity. Healthy California Act, SB 562, will ensure we all get the healthcare we need, when we need it, with the provider of our choice. No more insurance premiums, co-pays, and deductibles. Workers and government will save billions each year. Private Insurance and Big Pharma want to kill it. Corporate-controlled legislators are stalling it. Let’s fight for it!


Free Public College California


Free Public College California

California needs to offer its residents tuition-free attendance at public four-year colleges, universities and community colleges. Community college students need to be included in scholarships, and students from families with fewer resources should get more, not less as currently proposed by some Legislators in Sacramento. Free College, No debt!

A few days ago, I met with UC Berkeley students. The plans by the UC Board of Regents to raise tuition for students again was high among their concerns. I stated that this is exactly the opposite of what I stand for – free public college! I do not and I will not support tuition and fee hikes.

Students are rightfully outraged that the Board of Regents would consider raising tuition, considering that the​ Board has given significant raises to high-level administrators, and that last year’s audit shows it paying excessive salaries and mishandling funds, as well as hiding away $175 million in budget reserve funds.

I believe the UC Regents have an obligation to be strong advocates for students and to lobby the legislature for more money. Instead, under the board’s watch, California’s state legislature cut state funding per UC student by more the 50 percent, while leaving many corporate interests untouched and untaxed.

The mobilized students successfully were able to postpone the vote on the tuition until May. But they and all of us need to keep up the pressure, both on the Board of Regents and on the legislature.

As Lt. Governor I will fight to invest in our future and make public higher education tuition-free for all Californians. We can fund this initiative through taxing the highest income earners in the state. We need to start making the 1% and corporations pay their fair share. Being the only corporate free candidate in this race, I vow to always put our students ahead of corporate interests. When we invest in our future and in our state, we lift up our state!

We are building a serious movement to bring real change to California, and it is only possible because of your support. 

Building Affordable Housing


Rent control stops the bleeding. Eliminate the Costa-Hawkins Act, which prevents rent control on more than half the units. Have a fair statewide rent control law and just cause for eviction. Promote ‘real’ low-income housing with massive tax incentives, higher taxes on luxury construction, and participation in ‘land trust’ developments. Statewide Rent Control and low income housing now!

Access to safe and affordable housing without the fear of forced eviction is a fundamental human right. Yet, for too long our government has failed in ensuring this right to all of our fellow citizens. This failure has become a crisis worse here in California, where a third of all renters statewide spend more than half their income on rent.

The insufficient development of affordable housing and the concentration of development in luxurious and very profitable housing have caused affordable housing shortages. There is currently an estimated 1.5 million shortfall of low-income rental units across the state.

This affordable housing crisis we suffer requires a serious government intervention to prevent it from growing into a humanitarian disaster. It requires a massive financial investment by the State, the promotion of real low-income housing with tax incentives, higher taxes on luxury construction and the participation of State-owned land in ‘land trust’ developments.Low-income housing is a proven method of cooling off the market and keeping all housing costs in neighborhoods affordable.

But first, we must stop the bleeding. Cities must mobilize and pass local rent control ordinance like we did in Richmond last year. Council and voters passed the first rent control and just cause for eviction law in California in 30 years.

At the state level I will work with all true progressives to repeal the Costa Hawkins Rental Housing Act and the Ellis Act. Costa Hawkins has limited local government’s ability to enact rent control on over half of all units in California (newer buildings). The Ellis Act is used by landlords to change the use of a building and to get out of the rental business.

Immediately after these repeals, we must implement fair statewide rent control to combat greedy landlords from evicting low income tenants just to replace them with wealthier tenants for higher profits. We also need a ‘speculator’s tax’ that discourages landlords from keeping houses unoccupied.

We must get active in our communities, getting incorruptible corporate-free candidates elected to local rent boards and all levels of government.

Together, we can make a California where affordable housing is accessible and the fear of being homeless is non-existent. We simply need the political backbone for it. Thank you for standing strong with me today. We will get there!

In Solidarity,


Videos (1)

— April 23, 2018 Global Voices for Justice

Gayle's experience as a corporate-free People First progressive leader in Richmond, CA (2005-2017) and beyond.

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